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Our view

The illusion that we understand the past fosters overconfidence in our ability to predict the future
DANIEL KAHNEMAN – Author of Thinking, Fast and Slow

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Changing the Conversation
21st Club presents a collection of insights for football club boardrooms

Changing the Conversation

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  • 17 Oct 2019

    X strategy

    Underachievement is easier to spot and much more talked about than overachievement in football, at least at times. Last season Real Madrid changed three managers and suffered their worst La Liga points total (68) since 2001-02. On the other side of Madrid, and much less talked about, Getafe finished 5th (59) and missed out on […]

  • 10 Oct 2019

    The Curious case of Mohamed Salah

    Since his Player of the Year winning season of 2017/18, Mohamaed Salah has divided opinion. In the last 14 months he has continued to be the biggest direct contributor to Liverpool’s attack with 46 goals and assists across the Premier League and Champions League (Mane 35 and Firmino 31) yet the fans seem to be […]

  • 03 Oct 2019

    One-hit wonders

    Benchmarking the productivity of our academy can be tough. Only a small number of players might break through to our first team, and it’s not always easy keeping track of departed players. What’s more, we often only immediately recall a handful of players produced – but do they actually represent the wider productivity of the […]

  • 26 Sep 2019

    Leagues, not Cups

    League competitions are unquestionably the most important indicator of domestic success for football clubs. No one would seriously argue that Wigan Athletic were the best team in England in 2012-13, or that Eintracht Frankfurt were the best team in Germany in 2017-18, or that Rennes were the best team in France in 2018-19, despite these […]

  • 19 Sep 2019

    The price to pay for talent

    A lot is discussed about player wages and the eye-watering sums they receive in compensation for their performances on the pitch. Recently released salaries in Serie A revealed Cristiano Ronaldo earns €31m per annum – 74% more than the second-highest earner – 20-year-old Matthijs de Ligt (€8m).
    But how important is our league when it comes […]

  • 13 Sep 2019

    Coaching Boosts

    From prior research, we know the sole act of changing a coach does little to guarantee performance impact over the long run at an average club.

    However the right coach in the right environment can prove to be significant, particularly over shorter horizons of a couple years. Such increases in performance can boost a club into […]

  • 05 Sep 2019

    The fixture skew

    We know that the league table at the start of the season is skewed by the quality of opponents that we have faced, and we often accordingly urge caution. But rather than ignore the table altogether, the use of predictive models can help us better assess results to date and, crucially, potential results to come.

    In […]

  • 30 Aug 2019

    Talent factories

    Powering international trade is the idea of “comparative advantage”: a country benefits by concentrating on the commodity that it can produce most efficiently, exporting this good, and then using the proceeds to buy in the commodities it is less efficient at producing. Even if another country is more efficient all-round and can produce everything at […]

  • 21 Aug 2019

    Doing more with less

    We all know that money has a big influence on our team’s performance; we can only dream as high as our budget allows us to do. Nevertheless, there are still teams that punch above their weight. What lessons can we learn from the most efficient teams in the world?

    Our Efficiency Rankings enable us to compare […]

  • 15 Aug 2019

    Reacting to Week 1 results

    Manchester United are back, Lampard is too inexperienced, Maupay is a bargain, and so on.

    After forming opinions all summer long we often completely reject them after watching just one performance of the new season: but should we? Do we overreact to early season results, or do we sometimes actually underreact?

    The betting markets help us monitor […]